Burton, Annie L.
Memories of childhood's slavery days
There remains to be told the story of my conversion and how I came to write the foregoing history of my life.
In 1875 I was taken sick. I thought I was going to die, and I promised the Lord I would serve Him if he would only spare my life. When I got well again, however, I forgot all about my promise. Then I was taken sick again. It seemed I had to go through a dark desert place, where great demons stood on either side. In the distance I could just see a dim light, and I tried to get to this light, but could not reach it. Then I found myself in a great marsh, and was sinking. I threw up my hands and said, "Lord, if Thou wilt raise me from this pit, I will never fail to serve Thee." Then it seemed as if I mounted on wings into the air, and all the demons that stood about made a great roaring. My flight ended on the top of a hill. But I was troubled because I could not find the light. All at once, at the sound of a loud peal of thunder, the earth
50opened, and I fell down into the pits of hell. Again I prayed to God to save me from this, and again I promised to serve Him. My prayer was answered, and I was able to fly out of the pit, on to a bank. At the foot of the little hill on which I sat were some little children, and they called to me to come down. But I could not get down. Then the children raised a ladder for me, and I came down among them. A little cherub took me by the hand and led me in the River of Badjied of Jordan. I looked at my ankles and shoulders and discovered I had little wings. On the river was a ship. The children, the cherub and I got into the ship. When we reached a beautiful spot, the little cherub made the ship fast, and there opened before us pearly gates, and we all passed through into the golden street. The street led to the throne of God, about which we marched. Then the cherub conducted us to a table where a feast was spread. Then the children vanished. The cherub took me by the hand, and said, "Go back into the world, and tell the saints and sinners what a Savior you have found, and if you prove faithful I will take you to Heaven to live forever, when I come again."
When I recovered from my sickness, I was baptized by the Rev. Dr. Pope, and joined the church
51in Macon. When I came North, I brought my letter. Not finding any church for colored people, I came among the white people, and was treated so kindly that I became very much attached to them. The first church I became connected with in the North, was in Newtonville. When I came to Boston, I went to the Warren Avenue Baptist Church. Before my marriage I joined Tremont Temple, when Dr. Lorimer was its pastor. When the church was burned, my letter was destroyed, but when I went South on a visit I had the letter duplicated, and took it to the new Temple. I am still a member of the Temple, and hope to remain there as long as God gives me life.
Five years ago, I began to go to the Franklin evening school. Mr. Guild was the master. At one time he requested all the pupils to write the story of their lives, and he considered my composition so interesting he said he thought if I could work it up and enlarge upon it, I could write a book. He promised to help me. My teacher was Miss Emerson, and she was interested in me. But the next year Miss Emerson gave up teaching, and Mr. Guild died.
In each of the terms that I have attended, I have received the certificates showing that I have been regular and punctual in attendance, have maintained
52good deportment, and shown general proficiency in the studies. I would have graduated in 1907, had it not been for sickness. The following was to have been my graduating composition.